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A new chapter begins: South Huntsville Public Library opens to community

Published on September 28, 2021

library ribbon cutting

A new chapter begins today for South Huntsville as the much-anticipated South Huntsville Public Library opens to the community.

The 30,750-square-foot facility replaces the old Bailey Cove Library Branch in Weatherly Plaza. Located in the City of Huntsville’s Sandra Moon Community Complex, the library was designed to meet the needs of a dynamic, growing community with plenty of space for books, gatherings and technology.

The library is a collaborative effort between the City, which contributed $6.2 million in capital funds, and Madison County Commission, which gave $4 million using District 5 project funds. The Huntsville Library Foundation also raised $1.8 million for the development through private donations.

“Today’s opening marks a milestone for the City and its partners, who have spent many years dreaming of, fundraising for and planning what this library could be,” Mayor Tommy Battle said. “As a longtime library patron, I am thrilled to see this state-of-the-art facility come to life and hope the community will give it their full support.”

10 years in the making

Plans for the South Huntsville Public Library were developed through a series of public meetings to identify the community’s goals and priorities. Working with Fuqua & Partners Architects and Pearce Construction, officials broke ground on the facility on 7901-L Bailey Cove Road in February 2020.

Cindy Hewitt, executive director of the HMCPL system, is excited to see this much-needed space open after 19 months of construction and a global pandemic.

“The South Huntsville Public Library will meet the demand for library services as our population grows,” she said. “The new library also reflects the changing role of libraries in communities and is equipped with the latest technology and spaces for you to create, connect and explore.”

The opening of the South Huntsville Public Library has been a long time coming for Madison County Commissioner Phil Riddick, an early champion of the project. Starting more than 10 years ago, Riddick’s leadership in organizing the efforts to plan, site and fund the library contributed significantly to the completion of facility.

“I’m very excited that the vision of a new South Huntsville Library is finally being realized,” he said. “So many people have been involved during the 10 years of planning, design, fundraising and construction, and I thank all engaged in this process for their efforts. The residents have been looking forward to this with great expectation, and I can say with all enthusiasm that the wait will have been well worth it. This library will not only be the anchor of the Sandra Moon Complex, but it will also be the focal point of education, community collaboration and family activity for South Huntsville residents for many years to come.”

Economic, social impacts

City Council President Jennie Robinson said the new library at the northern end of the old Grissom High School will have vast economic and social impacts on District 3 and the greater Huntsville community.

“Libraries are more than just a place to store and read books,” she said. “They also bring people together, inspire new ideas and increase knowledge among people from all walks of life. I am encouraged and excited to see our City and County continue to invest in our library system and look forward to this new addition in South Huntsville.”

New amenities in the South Huntsville Public Library include:

  • An open/bookstore-style floor plan
  • Classroom
  • Private study rooms
  • Space to exhibit art
  • An indoor fireplace for cozy reading
  • Makerspace Studio
  • Friends of the Library bookstore
  • Family bathroom facilities
  • Children’s storytime room
  • Children’s puppet theater
  • Teen/tween gaming center
  • Outdoor seating with WiFi access
  • Modern technology
  • Children’s garden

What’s to come

HATCH, Huntsville’s new hospitality workforce training program, will also run a full-service café at the library. It will be open during library hours, as well as earlier morning hours to accommodate commuters.

The South Huntsville Public Library is located at the Sandra Moon Community Complex, which will provide a wide variety of activities, including theater, musical performance, athletics and meeting space. The City will continue construction of these other areas over the next few years.

For more information about HMCPL, visit their website.